The Big C Preview: Laura Linney, Gabby Sidibe Join The Cable PantheonS

Showtime has posted a preview of the new Laura Linney series The Big C, apparently from the pilot. Bonus: Gabby Sidibe as a smart-ass student, in what has turned into a regular role.

Linney plays a teacher whose cancer diagnosis leaves her trying to break out of her "boring" mold. A start: "I'm just having desserts and liquor," at a restaurant. She joins a club of multitalented actresses like Edie Falco, Toni Collette, and Mary Louise Parker on the network. This is strategic, per The Wall Street Journal:

Once Ms. Collette, Ms. Falco and Ms. Parker had launched buzzy new shows, Showtime used its lineup to pitch scripts to other middle-age actresses who might have shunned the network in the past. Ms. Linney was at the top of the list. "Every year or so we'd call her agents at ICM and say, 'We might have something, is she open?' And they'd always say no," Mr. Greenblatt says. That changed last year when Showtime sent over the script that became "The Big C." Ms. Linney signed on as lead actress and an executive producer, with Oliver Platt co-starring. In the first episode she tells off a grouchy neighbor, fakes her own suicide to teach her teenage son a lesson and plans a bonfire to torch her couch in the backyard.

The show premieres this summer — hopefully with a more-than-momentary role for Sidibe.

Related: Showtime's Bad Girls Make Good [WSJ]

Earlier: Best In Show: With Women, Showtime Gives HBO A Run For Its Money